Health Care has changed a lot in the past 13 years. With premiums rising nearly 131% for a family of four since 1999, it’s hard to say when coverage will become more affordable. It is America’s hope that health care will be cheaper and easier to obtain with the passage of Health Care Reform, but that remains to be seen. As we get closer to 2014, the supposed year guarantee issue eligibility is mandated, California health insurance plans seem to offer less coverage.
The time when most plans offered unlimited office visit co-payments, included low deductibles, and provided prescriptions medications before deductible, is history! Most individuals and small employers can only afford to provide high deductible plans to their employees and families. These policies offer comprehensive medical protection in the event of an accident, but don’t provide much in way of office visits and prescription medications before deductible.
Some California health carriers offer office visit co-payments and prescriptions before deductible, but with limits on office visits (3 visits per year) and more intensive cost sharing on brand name prescriptions. This cost sharing may include a brand name deductible as low as $500 or as high as $7,500. For an individual or family, this may be the only way to get affordable health care that includes office visits and prescription medications.
It will be interesting to see what happens to health insurance premiums in the next couple years. Not only that, it will be interesting to see how much more cost sharing is expected to be covered by the consumer.